Slow Down from the Inside Out

When I initially came across the slow movement, idling, and associated fields, it wasn’t Slow Food, or Slow Travel, or even Slow Sex, or any of those external activities that caught my attention, it was the philosophy behind the slow movement and the mindset you developed from embracing that philosophy; the psychology of slow, or the “tortoise mind”.

I was fascinated with the idea of how, by slowing down your thoughts and actions, you become more relaxed, happier, less stressful, but also, in some (if not all) cases, more productive and more “successful” (whatever that word means to you) too.

I saw developing a tortoise mind, to become an “idler” or a slow person as a key and essential ingredient in not just becoming a happier, but a better person.

I saw slowing down as an “inside out” rather than “outside in” process. By becoming a “tortoise minded” individual I felt that then the rest of the elements of the Slow Movement, such as travel, food, etc would naturally become an extension of who you are, rather than trying to embrace these activities to try and slow yourself down (which is a bit like trying to stop an out of control truck doing 150mph by grabbing hold of the tailgate – it probably won’t work…). When you have developed your “tortoise mind” you will start to notice how unnecessary your old fast habits were and you will naturally be drawn to slower way of doing things.

So, I developed in my mind a sort of archetype of the ideal slow person or idler, the sort of person who can be centred and gathered and unflustered even the fastest and most hectic of surroundings.

Then I had a goal to aim for and I could take my training and skills in psychology, coaching, NLP, hypnosis, mindfulness, etc and start develop exercise and techniques to hopefully get me (and other people) to achieve that ideal.

Some people are naturally like this; I am sure you have seen them. I usually see them at airports, where you have been up at an ungodly hour to catch your flight, you are tired, disorientated and grumpy, you have been hauling your luggage around (you have probably packed far too much, but forgotten something essential), you have been queuing up, waiting your turn, getting bored and frustrated and sick of being battered, bumped into and treated like a total idiot.

Then they turn up. The idler. The archetypal “tortoise minded” person.  They casually swan in with the smallest luggage you have ever seen, calm and unflustered, they are well dressed, relaxed and look damn good. They are smiling, happily and annoyingly polite. Somehow they end up ahead of you in the queue (but didn’t push in), they seem to get the best (or only) seats left in the airport lounge (but are willing to give it up to someone else more in need of the seat, just to find another seat a few minutes later!), the fastest queue and, at the gate, you notice they have been upgraded! They take this with the calm polite modesty and remain pleasant to the end. All their movements are graceful, calm, measured and seemingly frustratingly slow (they stroll nonchalantly along), yet they seem to get everywhere before you, who has been rushing and flapping…

And, if you happen to be going to the same location as them on holiday, you notice they are always perfectly suitably turned out (how did they manage that with the tiny luggage?), fresh, alert, polite and get the last sun lounger!

Don’t you just hate them (because you want to be like them)?!

I am still working on it; that is my ideal goal (at the moment). The reason I was drawn to the slow philosophy was because I was a flustered, twitchy, super-fast person (and it was doing me no good at all), so I have quite a long way to go yet (although I am getting there)…

Pop over to the free stuff page for much more advice and ideas on how to develop your inner idler.

Matt

PS, I am still working on new content for the static pages. Please bear with me, I am getting there slowly…

🙂